|Match Date||27th Aug, 2004|
|Venue||Homebush (Telstra Stadium)|
The Bulldogs have returned to the winners circle with a 52-6 trashing of Newcastle in their round 25 National Rugby League clash at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.
After having their winning streak halted by Melbourne last week, the Bulldogs bounced back to notch their 18th win of the season against the hapless Knights.
The win confirms a top-two finish for the Bulldogs, while Newcastle's slim hopes of making the finals are now dashed.
The Bulldogs took control of the match from the kick-off and following a Hazem El Masri penalty goal in the third minute, prop Mark O'Meley scored their opening two tries.
His first in the 10th minute was the result of pressured attack from the Bulldogs on the Newcastle line, which allowed O'Meley to crash over for the easiest of tries.
El Masri converted to send the Bulldogs out to an 8-0 lead.
Only minutes later O'Meley crossed again, running onto a well-timed flat ball from half-back Brent Sherwin and bumping off a feeble attempt of a tackle from Robbie O'Davis.
The Knights were down 14-0 but they did not panic and they were unlucky not to score soon after through Matthew Gidley.
The New South Wales State of Origin representative crossed in the right-hand corner, only for the try to be disallowed because of a strip by opposite Wille Tonga.
The Knights were to rue the missed opportunity, as the Bulldogs poured on three tries to round out the first half.
With the benefit of a 40-20 kick from Braith Anasta, the Bulldogs found themselves deep inside the Newcastle half and an Andrew Ryan try was the just reward.
Ryan ran onto a flat pass from Anasta to slice through the Knight's right-side defence to score, and he was backed up three minutes later with a try to the underrated Tony Grimaldi.
Reni Maitua scored in the 40th minute and with El Masri adding the extras to all three tries, the Bulldogs led at the half-time break 34-0.
Newcastle started the second half intent on bridging the gap and Steve Witt's try two minutes after the resumption of play helped their cause.
Kurt Gidley converted to cut the margin to 28 points, but Ryan's second four-pointer in the 57th minute extinguished any hope of a Newcastle comeback.
Anasta scored the Bulldogs seventh try to add further insult and bulldozing winger Matt Utai finished off the rout, scoring just before the full-time siren.
El Masri had another outstanding night with the boot, kicking eight conversions and two penalty goals, while Adam Perry led the Bulldogs excellent defensive effort with 25 tackles.
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||0||10||0||20|
|Braith Anasta||Five Eighth||1||0||0||4|
|Brent Sherwin||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Andrew Ryan||Second Row||2||0||0||8|
|Willie Mason||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Mark O'Meley||Front Row||2||0||0||8|
|Steve Price||Front Row||0||0||0||0|